Feb 23, 2021 - Economy & Business

What Home Depot tells us about the country's housing boom

Dollar sign

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Home Depot has been a proxy for the white-hot housing market.

What's going on: The company rode the coattails of the pandemic building boom — and just gave us a hint that it hasn't slowed down.

A fresh data point illuminates the boom: U.S. home prices soared in December at the fastest pace in six years — the latest sign of strong demand.

Details: Home Depot said Tuesday vinyl flooring, appliances and moldings drove sales at the end of last year.

  • Sales for DIY projects continued at a breakneck pace.
  • Professional builders' purchases of housing supplies jumped the most since the pandemic began.

Catch up quick: Home demand has soared, but supply is still tight — sending prices soaring.

  • Builders are racing to keep up with the demand for new homes.
  • Borrowing rates plummeted when the pandemic hit, enticing locked-down residents to seek out bigger or different homes.

The other side: As people spent more time in their homes, they put extra cash in them too, fueling a home-improvement frenzy.

What they're saying: "It took us 19 years ... to get the first $20 billion in total sales," but sales jumped by more than that in one year alone, Home Depot CEO Craig Menear told analysts today.

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